New mHealth Apps Can Deduce What Ails You

December 13, 2017 - 3 minutes read

It wasn’t too long ago that the concept of MedTech app development would have baffled both mobile app developers and medical professionals. The thought that technology could enable doctors to accurately diagnose a malady would have been met with laughter. But now, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Developing a Mobile Hot Spot Detector

Diabetes patients often get ulcers on their feet. Left untreated, they can result in amputation and death. Britain’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) recently announced their development of a mobile health device used to scan the feet of diabetic patients for hot spots, indicators of inflammation where ulcers may form.

Robert Simpson leads the team that develops the foot-scanning device, called DFirst. “If you have an amputation, the outlook is up to 50 percent of those who have an amputation are dead within two years, and up to 80 percent are dead within five years,” says Simpson.

The device has been in the making for two years, and the London-based development team has already created a handheld prototype for testing. The goal is to get the device down to the size of a smartphone so it would be practical for physicians and patients to have for quick in-home monitoring.

Just Breathe

Another new innovation in the works analyzes the user’s breathing when he or she is using a mobile phone. The mHealth app, called Healthymize, is currently being tested in Israel. The company is planning to conduct additional user testing in the UK.

By analyzing the user’s breathing patterns during speech, the app can detect deteriorating breathing and speech. It sends a notification to the patient and their doctor, predicting an episode of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Isreal-based mobile app development company is led by Dr. Shady Hassan. “We don’t want patients to get to the hospital,” says Hassan. “If they do, that’s already too late.”

Healthymize has other applications, too — it can help detect heart disease and even mental health issues. The concept is in development at several companies who are integrating it with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant.

Precise Predictions Can Save Lives

As healthcare costs rise, preventative medicine is more important than ever. With healthcare apps like Healthymize and devices like DFirst, not only can patients maintain their health with the help of easy-to-use devices, but doctors can make a treatment plan faster and more accurately.

Novel applications like Healthymize and DFirst could also help to spur economic growth in mHealth. The mHealth app market is forecasted to be worth $31 billion by 2020. That is a sharp increase from its current $10 billion value. Currently, mHealth apps are finding monetization hard to implement. But new innovations like these in development, the estimated 2020 value may be a viable target to reach in the next two years.

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